Benjamin John Hall takes a hammer to porcelain shoes during live event
Footwear designer Benjamin John Hall dispersed black dye onto his latest shoe designs with a series of physical processes – including smashing, spraying and squeezing – during a live event at London College of Fashion (+ movie).
Benjamin John Hall's Design by Destruction project involved patterning custom-designed shoes using black dye embedded into or applied onto a set of three pairs of boots.
As part of the performance, he took a hammer to a pair of white leather ankle boots with porcelain beaks that had the dye encased within them.
A wedge was placed beneath the curved sections before Hall hit them with a hammer to crack them without breaking off the protruding sections. The dye sept out of the cracked porcelain to colour the tips of the shoes.
Hall took cues from the 1960s Destructivist art movement, but wanted the experimental performance to inform future work rather than just result in broken items.
"Rather than simply destroy a shoe like a Destructivist, what I wanted to do was to use a process that would result in a particular creative outcome," he told Dezeen.
"They're not intended to be worn, it's an experimental work to explore ideas," he said. "Rather than borrow from others, its about generating new avant-garde ideas with the hope of creating something more commercial in the future."
After weeks of testing, Hall devised different processes to dye the shoes. For a pair of knee-high leather boots, Hall squeezed moulded leather pouches positioned on the shins and filled with dye so the black liquid spurted out and patterned the white uppers.
He also sprayed dye onto each white fabric leg of a pair of thigh-high platform boots, revealing horizontal strips that hadn't received a water-resistant nano technology coating that was applied to the rest of the material.
The project built on his previous work, in which he created a set of shoes that underwent a series of physical changes representing stages in a life cycle.
"It's an evolution of the Birth, Life, Death and Resurrection project and the process involved in that, particularly the Resurrection shoe," Hall told Dezeen. "Fire is a destructive process and this expands on that."
The Design By Destruction live display was the first in a series of 13 events curated for the relaunch of London College of Fashion's Fashion Space Gallery last month, which took place at the venue just off Oxford Street.
During this performance, models were lead through plastic strips hung in a door frame and along a custom catwalk designed by London studio The Decorators that was created to accommodate the activities planned for other events in the series.
Afterwards, the models stood around a semi-circular platform so attendees could examine the end result close up and to give the dye a chance to dry.
Black and white process shots are by Ying Wei Tang. Colour photographs are by Levin Haegele.
Here's some more information sent to us by Hall:
Design By Destruction
Design By Destruction is a new body of work from award winning footwear designer Benjamin John Hall.
As a follow up to his Birth, Life, Death and Resurrection collection he continues to explore design methodology and process, in this case through three experimental dying techniques designed to occur post shoe production.
The work was influenced by the Destructivist art movement of the 60s where objects were destroyed in live public performances, in particular Raphael Montañez Ortiz playing piano with an axe and from the 90s the K Foundation burning one million pounds.
However, unlike the Destructivist's art that cannot actually exist by its very nature, Benjamin’s shoes do live on in their newly tainted forms.
Shoes are waterproofed with nano technology then spray dyed, ink capsules are squeezed until they burst and internal porcelain structures smashed to seep ink on to external material, all of which effect new dying methods and creative outcomes through destructive actions.
The live performance was filmed by Carlos Jimenez and commissioned by Ligaya Salazar the new director of the Fashion Space Gallery London to open Relaunch, a series of new events.